Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome to Mayer

On our way to Sedona, we took a detour to Mayer, AZ to get shots of the cemetery (which will be my next post).  I did get some nice pictures of this sweet little town.

Lunch, pastrami sandwich and potato salad.  It was very good!

This is where we stopped for lunch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Road to Sedona

Some pictures I took on the drive from Phoenix to Sedona.

Sunset overlook.

Sunset overlook.

Red squirrel enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sedona, Here We Come

Sharon and I are taking not only a road trip to Sedona, Arizona, but it is actually going to be a vacation.  We will be spending a few days checking out the sites, tours, and just plain relaxing among the red rocks.  I will be taking tons of pictures and will be posting about the entire trip.  More to come...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bizarre Trees of Oak Creek

This week I will be relaxing under some of Mother Nature's interesting creations, the trees of Oak Creek in Sedona, Arizona.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Petrified Forest

In northeastern Arizona and in the heart of Navajo and Apache country lies the Petrified Forest National Park.  This over 146 square miles of desert/forest land is partially in the Painted Desert and got its names from the large deposits of petrified wood which covers the area.  In 1906, the site was declared a national monument and in 1962 a national park.  Inside the park you will find over 400 different types of plant life along with 200 various species of birds and other animals.  Half the park is designated wilderness. 

The Petrified Forest has many fossils of trees which existed around 225 million years ago.  The colorful sediment from the fossil logs are what give the Painted Desert its name.  the earliest human inhabitants lived in the are over 8,000 years ago.  About 6,000 years later, they were growing corn, building pit houses, and above-ground homes called pueblos.  The climates changes made it hard for the people to continue living in the area and eventually they all left for other places.  Over 600 archaeological sites with many petroglyphs were left behind tell their stories.  16th century Spanish explorers discovered the site and petroglyphs and by the mid-19th century a U.S. survey team discovered the petrified wood lying all over the area.  After roads and railways lead to where the park was located, there became a need to protect the petrified wood and fossils from the tourist stealing them.  It became a high priority because many were stolen from the park's grounds.  There is a rumor that the petrified wood is cursed and if you remove it from the park you will have nothing but bad luck.  Many pieces have been mailed and returned back to the park from people who believe the stolen wood is the reason for all their misfortune.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Thing?

What is the Thing?  Along Interstate 10, from Tucson, Arizona to El Paso, Texas, you see billboards with messages to tickle your interests.  One will say, "The Thing?", and a few miles more you will see "What is it?" and down the road a ways another might say "Mystery of the Desert".  

Located on a hilltop between Benson and Willcox, Arizona, you will see a large red, yellow, blue filling station and gift shop.  Inside you will find the typical southwest roadside gifts such as bows, arrows, moccasins, baseball caps, turquoise jewelry and The Thing? shot glasses, T-shirts and other items with the logo on it.

What is it?  I sounds like a novelty which peaks enough people's interest to get them to stop and check it out.  For a dollar, you walk past the register and into a tiny outside courtyard.  In the courtyard is three prefabricated corrugated steel sheds full of odd exhibits.  You will see unusual wood carvings, framed lithographs, saddles, rifles, a covered wagon and some vintage automobiles.  They even claim that the 1937 Rolls-Royce once was owned by Adolf Hitler.  After walking through the maze of bizarre stuff, you finally see The Thing?, a mummified mother-and-child tableau encased in a glass-cover coffin.

I have not seen The Thing? yet.  But the next time I head to southern Arizona, I might have to take a detour and see this oddity for myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mogollon Monster

He is known all over the world as different names, and has slightly different descriptions.  The hairy beast called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Skunk Monster, or Yeti, just to name a few, has been seen by many but very little is known about this ape-like creature.

In Arizona, we have many sightings along the rim country stretching from Prescott to Williams, Winslow to the Herber area, and into Payson.  (This is where the Finding Bigfoot team went hunting for Bigfoot.)  It got its name from the many sightings along the Mogollon Rim.  People have describe what they saw as around seven feet tall, hairless in the face, but with its body covered with hair.  The hair has been noted as being dark or reddish brown.  This creature has enormous strides when it walks and runs, leaving footprints that have measured around twenty-two inches. Those who had an encounter while in the forest have said there was a dead silence, and a foul odor right before seeing the Mogollon monster.  Some claim they didn't see it but smelt the stench, heard branches breaking, and knew something was watching them.

One of the first known encounters was in the mid 1940s by a cryptozoologist, Don Davis, who was thirteen years old at the time and camping with his fellow Scouts near Tonto Creek.  It was late in the night when he was awoken by something or someone rummaging though their things.  Davis yelled out thinking it was one of the scouts and a huge, dark figure approached his tent and stood near him.  He describes his encounter like this:

"The creature was huge.  Its eyes were deep set and hard to see, but they seemed expressionless.  His face seemed pretty much devoid of hair, but there seemed to be hair along the side of his face.  His chest, shoulders, and arms were massive, especially the upper arms; easily upwards of 6 inches in diameter, perhaps much, much more.  I could see he was pretty hairy, but didn't observe really how thick the body hair was.  The face/head was very square, square sides and squared up chin, like a box."

There have been stories of people running into the beast before Davis' encounter.  In 1903, a visitor to Arizona tells a story about seeing what he called as "a wild man of the rocks" while hiking the Grand Canyon.  He said this "wild man" had long white hair, matted beard, and his fingers resembled claws.  This is not the typical description of a Bigfoot, but some concluded that the visitor might have come across an older Sasquatch.  One will never know for sure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Attack Cactus

I remember when I was in high school and my friends and I decided to take a hike.  It was winter in Arizona which is spring in many other states.  We picked one of the hiking trails on the mountain to take us to the top.  I was following my friend Deb when she slightly veered off the trail.  All of the sudden she started screaming.  She had cactus embedded in her ankle and it was hurting.  She barely brushed next to a cactus known as the "jumping cholla" when it attacked her.

The jumping cholla, Cylindropuntia fulgida, is also called the "hanging chain cholla" and is usually found in the southwest portion of the United States and northern Mexico.  This cactus has tiny stems with spikes and eject off the plant when you get too close.  It gives the illusion that the tip has jumped onto the person and attached itself to either their skin or clothes.  Many of the desert critters can be seen running around with the cactus attached to their bodies.

I have not been attacked by one of these cacti but know several people who have.  It is not easy getting the spiny stems out of your skin and it can be very painful.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Along the Highway

You always see interesting things along the highway in Arizona.  Here are some of the things that caught our eyes on our recent trip to Gila Bend.

A boat sitting in the dirt along the road.

A lonely ice house.

An interesting factory.

An abandoned trailer.

A bizarre sign.

Someone's memorial.

A dust devil.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Historic Stout's Hotel

Located on the main drag of Gila Bend, Arizona is the historic Stout's Hotel. I could not find any information on when this hotel was built, but did find a 1939 picture of the outside, cafe, and lobby of the hotel.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Check-In Time: Never!

This motel in Gila Bend was booming in its heyday but now sits deserted and lonely.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

From Wikipedia:

"Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio was born on June 14, 1932 and is the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.  First voted into office in 1992, Arpaio is responsible for law enforcement in Maricopa County.  This includes management of the service of process.  Arpaio styles himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff".  He is well known for his outspoken stance against illegal immigration.  Arpaio has become a flash point for controversy surrounding Arizona's SD1070 anti-illegal immigration act.  He is also know for his investigation of President Barack Obama's citizenship.

Arpaio was once widely popular among voters in Arizona.  His popularity has waned since 2007, notable among independent and Republican voters, but he still has a 57 percent positive job rating among Republicans; he has been re-elected five times."

Love him or hate him, he will go down in history as one of Arizona's most colorful sheriffs.  What do you think of Arizona's so-called "toughest sheriff"?